In the end, the judge doesn’t need to hear Michael Flynn’s calls with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the Trump transition in order to sentence him.
Last month, Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered prosecutors to make public a raft of information, primarily transcripts, related to Flynn’s case. That included calls between him and Russian officials – presumably including the calls with Kislyak that have only been summarized but factored into a core piece of the Mueller investigation.
Prosecutors refused to make the Kislyak-Flynn calls public on Friday.
They said, in a one-sentence response to that part of the order, that they did not have other documents to share with the court that could help at sentencing.
The response caused much ado among court-watchers, who wondered how Sullivan might react to the snub. Sullivan is known for his demands for transparency in prosecutions and, in Flynn’s case, his severe reaction to Flynn’s behavior in the White House.
Sullivan said Tuesday: “Upon consideration of the government’s submissions in response to those orders, the government is not required to file any additional materials or information on the public docket pursuant to the Court’s Orders.”
Flynn has not been sentenced for his crime of lying to the FBI. He pleaded guilty in December 2017, becoming a significant cooperator for special counsel Robert Mueller, especially in the investigation of possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. Flynn does not have a sentencing date.
Sullivan’s requests for the transcripts came after The Washington Post sued for some under-seal filings in the Flynn case, though the transcripts themselves were not part of either the public or confidential court record.
The lawsuit and the judge’s orders did wedge into the public’s eye the full quotation of a voice mail from Trump’s lawyer John Dowd to Flynn’s lawyer Rob Kelner on the eve of Flynn’s plea deal, as well as more details from FBI memos in the case.